MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – A career-day from Bryce Jarvis, combined with early offense helped the Duke baseball team to a 4-0 victory over top-seeded West Virginia on Saturday night at Monongalia County Ballpark. With the win, the Blue Devils improve to 33-25 on the season and advance to the regional championship Sunday evening.
“It was a really electric environment, credit to the fans in Morgantown,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “I thought that the difference in the ballgame was the composure and poise that our kids showed with the way that we competed through it. That starts and ends with Bryce Jarvis and the job that he did on the mound. It was one of the best jobs, if not the best job, of just managing the moment and not letting everything that’s going on around you affect your ability to perform.”
For the second consecutive contest, Duke received another standout outing from its starting pitcher, this time being Jarvis. The second-year right hander spun an eight-inning gem, helping the Blue Devils to their sixth shutout of the season. Jarvis notched a career-high 11 strikeouts across a career-long 8.0 innings of work, yielding six hits and only one walk over a career-high 126 pitches. Fellow sophomore Thomas Girard worked the final frame, throwing just nine pitches while collecting a pair of strikeouts.
Duke jumped out to an early lead with a pair of runs in the first to grab the advantage. The Blue Devils used a two-out rally to complete the scoring sequence, starting with a double from junior Matt Mervis. Sophomore Michael Rothenberg followed up with his first triple of the season to plate Mervis and place Duke in the scoring column. A wild pitch in the next at-bat allowed Rothenberg to come across to put the Blue Devils ahead 2-0 after one inning of action.
The Blue Devils doubled their lead in the third with another two-run frame. Sophomore Joey Loperfido led off the frame with a walk before advancing to second on a wild pitch. One out later, Mervis and Rothenberg drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. With nowhere to put them, junior Erikson Nichols dribbled a ball back to pitcher, which allowed Loperfido to come across and score, narrowly beating the throw attempt to the plate. Sophomore Chris Crabtree continued the inning with a RBI single to center field to score another run for Duke to extend the lead to 4-0, the eventual final.
Offensively, the Blue Devils were led by Crabtree, who finished with a team-high two hits and one RBI. Rothenberg also contributed one RBI, while Mervis added a team-high two runs scored.
With the win, Duke advances to the regional final of the NCAA Morgantown Regional. The Blue Devils are set for a 6 p.m. matchup Sunday evening at Monongalia County Ballpark, and will face the winner of the West Virginia and Texas A&M contest.
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